News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

May 5, 2007

Given to fly: No one ever accused ‘The Rocket’ of shooting too much in a game

TERRE HAUTE — Many basketball fanatics have a laundry list of excuses not to watch the NBA.

The excuses range from ‘It’s all about dunking’ to ‘Those guys don’t play hard until it really matters’ and ‘Those guys are just great athletes; there aren’t the shooters there were back in my day.’

But when the playoffs roll around, everybody’s got an expert opinion.

For example, ‘Kobe Bryant shoots too much.’

“Some of the commentators are saying he’s selfish, he’s not a team player. If he doesn’t shoot, his team doesn’t have a chance,” said Rick Mount, whose jumpshot is legendary.

Mount scored 2,595 points in high school at Lebanon and went on to become Purdue’s all-time leading scorer in just three years playing for the Boilermakers (freshmen were not allowed to play varsity in the late 1960s).

“The Rocket” once shot 47 times in a game against Iowa, making 27 for a percentage of 57.4.

“Back when I played, that was never said,” Mount said. “I averaged about 28 shots a game. I shot 50 percent. Nobody ever said a thing.”

The NBA has many more shooters than Bryant. Mount’s favorite to watch is Carmelo Anthony, whose Denver Nuggets were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Anthony follows the form that Mount has taught for years, which includes a power pocket in front of the shooter’s face but most importantly uses a heel-ball-ball technique. That means the shooter gets a rhythm going by transferring his weight from his left heel to the ball of his left foot to the ball of his right foot.

“As far as pure shooters, Carmelo’s the best,” said Mount, whose five-year career in the American Basketball Association (ABA) ended due to injuries. “A lot of guys hop into their shots now. You have to have good rhythm and momentum and hopping doesn’t get it.”

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